Arts Watch: Abrons Announces a Season of Celebratory Premieres

OBIE and Bessie Award-winning choreographer Mark Dendy will premier his new piece, Labyrinth in October at the Abrons Arts Center.

OBIE and Bessie Award-winning choreographer Mark Dendy will premier his new piece, Labyrinth, in October at the Abrons Arts Center.

The OBIE award winning Abrons Arts Center is celebrating the centenary of the Henry Street Settlement Playhouse this year by devoting much of the 2014-2015 season to exciting new work.  Highlights in the lineup include premieres from The Civilians, Sibyl Kempson, David Greenspan, David Neumann, Mabou Mines, Mark Dendy, Will Rawls and a six-month residency, from January through June, by the International Contemporary Ensemble’s Open ICE program, which will feature new works by musicians Christian Wolff, George Lewis, John Zorn, Cory Smythe and Forrest Pierce.

In October, the New York premiere of the Edinburgh Festival’s hit, Forest Fringe MicroFestival (October 3–5), will take over the building, filling it with live performances and installations by Brian Lobel, Tim Etchells, Made in China, Deborah Pearson, Andy Field, Ira Brand and a number of New York-based artists.

The first of the season’s world premieres is the choreographer Mark Dendy’s “Labyrinth,” a retelling of the Theseus myth with an autobiographical overlay (Oct. 9 to 26).

Other world-premiere dance productions include Enrico D. Wey’s “1, this useless tool [this folded flower],” a work that explores Asian-American identity politics, internalized phobias, sexuality and other issues (Nov. 20 to 22); David Neumann’s “I Understand Everything Better,” a meditation on the way people deal with calamity, traumatic change and approaching death (April 9 to 18); a Rebecca Patek work in which she offers a self-analysis filtered through the story of the murderers Leopold and Loeb (May 20 to 23); and Will Rawls’s “Based on Real Events,” which will use the history of the Henry Street Playhouse as its source material (June 4 to 6).

Among the theater works having world premieres are “Pretty Filthy,” a work about porn stars by The Civilians (Jan. 30 to March 1); David Greenspan’s “I’m Looking for Helen Twelvetrees,” about finding the early film star toward the end of her life (March 19 to April 4); and Sibyl Kempson’s “Let Us Now Praise Susan Sontag.”

Avant-garde theater company Mabou Mines will perform Lee Breuer’s “Glass Guignol: The Brother and Sister Play,” a work about the shifting relationship between Tennessee Williams and his sister (April 22 to May 10), and the site-specific ensemble, Sister Sylvester will present The Maids’ The Maids, (October 30–November 9), a performance project that reimagines Jean Genet’s The Maids for two professional housekeepers and two professional actors.